Be Bella. Be Natural.

by Dolores Meehan, RN
Spring 2023

On January 22, 2005, our pro life community shocked the mainstream media, the abortion industrial complex and our own local politicians by bringing a desperately needed message and movement to the streets of San Francisco and beyond—“Abortion Hurts Women” and “Abortion Hurts Families and Society”. It was like the battle of Helm’s Deep. Against all odds, God’s message of hope and healing overpowered the clanging gongs and beating drums of the abortion rights protestors at that first annual West Coast Walk for Life, and every year since.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco has created an amazing infrastructure to provide hope and healing to women and men suffering from post-abortion trauma through the Project Rachel Ministry. But sadly, Catholic maternal care has disappeared from San Francisco—St Mary’s and St Francis closed their Labor & Delivery units many years ago, but it wasn’t until Seton hospital was sold in 2015, that San Francisco lost its last Catholic hospital to welcome new life. With that monumental loss, the idea of and the imperative for, building a life-affirming, self-standing, Catholic healthcare clinic took root. God’s success through our collective efforts with the Walk for Life inspired us to meet this emerging need for authentic Catholic medical care. Bella is the fruit of those efforts.

In March of 2022, Archbishop Cordileone’s dream to have a life-affirming medical center, rooted in the Catholic ethos of human dignity, human sexuality and the primacy of the family was realized. Bella Health and Wellness, a family medical practice, completed renovations and opened its doors in the heart of San Francisco in the Medical Arts Building at Van Ness Avenue and Jackson Street.

Why the name Bella? It’s a double entendre, In Italian Bella means beautiful. In Latin, Bella is plural for Bellum which means war. We are fighting a war to restore beauty – beauty in new life, beauty in emerging life, beauty in changing life, beauty in life’s heartbreaks, beauty in life’s twilight and beauty in leaving this world and entering into eternal life.

Bella is here to provide care for persons of all walks of life from Napa to Gilroy; from the Mission District to Pacific Heights because all of us who seek life-affirming care are underserved. In this battle to restore our birthright—-Catholic Medical care—Bella within the Catholic lens, will offer healthcare from conception to death where the Dignity of human life, the
sanctity of the family, and authority of parents to care for their children is upheld and protected because it is the very foundation of our Society.

Bella is here to provide:

  1. life-affirming support and medical care to mothers in crisis pregnancies
  2. life-affirming support and medical care to mothers (and fathers) who find themselves carrying an unborn child with Down Syndrome, Anencephaly, etc.—care that does not include terminating the life of their child
  3. respite for caregivers of the disabled and chronically ill—sort of like medical babysitting. Giving mom and dad a break to reconnect, refresh and reignite.

Bella is also the only San Francisco-based medical practice to assist infertile couples with natural, evidence-based, cutting-edge medical treatments to achieve pregnancy rather than create embryos in a lab only to be discarded if not used or aborted if not perfect. Our approach does not treat women like broken machines but looks to the underlying causes of infertility. Our medical Director, Dr. Amie Holmes, is one of the best NaPro surgeons in the country. Bella also offers a Natural Family Planning Practitioner to assist with charting and charting education.

Be Bella.
Be Natural!

Bella is committed to support parents’ authority in providing medical care based on Catholic teachings for their children; our providers ensure that parents are involved in their children’s care. In the same way we look at the underlying causes of infertility, our providers look at the underlying causes of confusion and depression that afflict our adolescents and together with their parents, provide appropriate counseling and referrals.

At Bella we make house calls to the elderly (to keep them out of the hospital if at all possible) and provide care for patients and their families as they navigate end-of-life medical care—keeping them comfortable with nutrition and hydration in the last stages of life ensuring a gentle death in cooperation with God’s timing.

Bella is modeled after and mentored by Bella Wellness in Denver. Now in its eigth year, Bella Denver has seen astronomical growth with over 14,000 patients and a staff of 52. It’s important to
know, they started in a shared medical office with two Nurse Practitioners seeing patients two days a week. With God’s grace and your assistance, we are confident that Bella San Francisco will follow suit.

We invite you to join Bella Health and Wellness as part of a larger nationwide movement committed to restoring a Christ-centered appreciation of human dignity and renewing Catholic healthcare in accord with sacred traditions rooted in Scripture and the healing ministry of Christ, which upholds the truths of the Catholic Faith in the science and practice of medicine.


About The Author

Dolores Meehan, RN
Co-chair of Walk for Life West Coast, is the co-founder, nurse practitioner and Executive Director of Bella Health and Wellness – SF’s life-affirming family medical practice. Until recently Dolores worked as a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital while mixing in many medical missionary trips to West Africa. A fourth generation San Franciscan, she has become a strong advocate for faithful Catholicism in San Francisco, in California, and nationally. She is known as a pro-life and pro-marriage speaker and has appeared frequently on Catholic Answers Live and EWTN.


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